< Browse more articles

ADVOCACY – CONSIDER FEDERAL COLLABORATION WITH THE PROVINCES

During the decade of the Harper Government there was very little collaboration between the federal level and provincial governments.  Much has changed with the election of the Trudeau Government.  Indeed, the current federal government has a clear mandate to work in collaboration with the provinces and territories. For associations this means having an advocacy strategy that takes this dual level approach into account.  Many areas of policy from health to transportation have joint provincial and federal oversight.  Association advocacy efforts can leverage influence at one level to make changes in policy at another.  Associations should also consider joint policy forums between the two governments as points of influence.  First Ministers meetings, where the Prime Minister and Premiers work on policy, or joint meetings of federal an provincial ministers must all be viewed as targets of influence.  Beyond this there are many intergovernmental working groups and task forces that can be very influential.    

Questions for association leaders
Do we have an engagement strategy at the provincial/territorial level?
Do we have a system for collaboration and tracking of efforts undertaken at the provincial/territorial level?

INCREASED IMPORTANCE OF GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY

Regardless of whether you are a national organization or a regional association, grassroots advocacy amongst your membership can help to further your association’s agenda with government. Local statistics and real-life stories matter to politicians more than any other factor. Reporting on local issues that affect parliamentarians will help you to get your foot in the door and become part of the larger conversation.  Associations that leverage grassroots tools are also seeing great benefits in terms of member engagement.  Grassroots advocacy done right builds membership retention and recruitment.   

Questions for association leaders
Do we have resources available for members to undertake grassroots engagement?
Is any preparation/meeting training needed for members to pursue local meetings?

CHAMPIONING YOUR CAUSE IN CAUCUS

Tracking legislative issues is also an important component to success in association government relations. It is essential that your association frame the issues that matter most to you before the government does.  Finding elected leaders that understand your issue and are willing to serve as a proponent of your issue or membership.

Questions for association leaders
Are there any parliamentarians that have previous experience (professional experience/other) in your field of work?
Are you cultivating political champions by sharing information and strategy with them that they can use to support your issues?
Are you keeping track of legislative issues to ensure that your association is included in all relevant parliamentary milestones?